Coastal is an online retailer that sells eyeglass frames, sunglasses, contact lenses, and accessories. There are plenty of options when it comes to online direct-to-consumer eyewear retailers, so how do you know if Coastal is the right one for you?
I’ve been shopping for eyeglasses and contact lenses, primarily online, for the past decade or so, and I decided to get to the bottom of what makes Coastal different from other online retailers. Let’s take a look at the pros, cons, tips, and tricks for shopping with Coastal for contacts and eyeglasses.
- Coastal sells all the products. There’s plenty of options for frames, prescription lenses, and contact lens brands.
- You don’t need to provide Coastal with a copy of your prescription if you’re ordering glasses.
- Standard lenses are included in your frame purchase, so the price you see is the price you get.
- Coastal offers free shipping with orders over $50 and free returns up to 14 days after your order arrives.
- Coastal accepts health savings account (HSA) and flexible savings account (FSA) as forms of payment.
- Coastal donates a pair of glasses to a person in need with each purchase.
- You can’t use your vision insurance as a direct form of payment. If you use vision insurance, you’ll have to submit a receipt for reimbursement.
- Coastal will try to upsell you with lens upgrades that increase the price of your eyeglasses.
- With so many options to choose from, shopping on Coastal’s website can feel a bit confusing or intimidating unless you already have a strong idea of what you want.
- When you buy glasses online from Coastal, you miss the personal attention of an eye exam in a doctor’s office.
Coastal sells contact lenses, eyewear, and accessories. That includes:
- prescription glasses
- prescription reading glasses
- sunglasses (prescription and nonprescription)
- bifocal lenses
- progressive lenses
Popular contact lens brands that Coastal sells include Acuvue, Biofinity, SofLens, and Air Optix. Coastal sells contacts made by most major manufacturers.
Premium eyewear brands sold by Coastal include Ray-Ban, Oakley, Brooks Brothers, and Michael Kors, among many others. They also carry a line of eyewear named after their in-house designer, Derek Cardigan.
For budget eyewear, Coastal offers brands like Clearly Basics and Main and Central.
When you buy eyeglasses through Coastal, you may pay as little as $9 plus shipping. Most of the time, though, you’ll end up paying a bit more.
Let’s say you select a pair of glasses made by Brooks Brothers at the base price of $90. Choosing Coastal’s standard lenses would mean that you pay $90, and shipping is free.
But let’s say that you’re on your computer a lot, so you choose lenses with blue light filter protection. And perhaps you have kids who like to take your glasses off your face and send them clattering to the floor every once in a while. In this case, you might choose a second lens upgrade to make them more durable. Your total after your lens upgrades would be $145.
That’s a far cry from the $9 frames that Coastal offers as their most affordable option, but it’s also a designer frame with custom lens upgrades that you choose yourself.
How much do Coastal contacts cost?
Prescription contact lenses cost about the same as they do on other online direct-to-consumer retailers. In general, Coastal contact lenses prices start toward the lower end of what you would pay for the products they sell.
The information you need to order from Coastal will depend on what you’re getting. Here is what you generally need to order:
- If you’ve ordered prescription eyewear or contact lenses, you’ll need to at least know your prescription before placing an order.
- You’ll also need to know if you have special preferences for your eyeglass lenses. Do you need an anti-glare coating for driving at night? What about progressive lenses that get darker when you go outside? Knowing your must-haves will keep you from overspending on features you don’t need.
- Finally, you’ll need to look into your vision insurance, HSA, or FSA policy. Coastal will give you a receipt for reimbursement or let you pay with your HSA or FSA debit card, but the company won’t work directly with your insurance to coordinate payment.
Coastal is an online retailer, so most orders are placed online. If you want help with your order, you can call (866) 333-6888 for phone assistance or chat with one of their online representatives through the website.
You’ll start by going through Coastal’s huge selection and figuring out what frames or contact lenses you want to buy.
Tip: If you have a copy of your prescription, you can send Coastal a photo so they don’t have to call your eye doctor. Sometimes, this means you get your order faster.
Ordering contacts from Coastal
If you have contacts, you’ll select the brand and type you usually get. You’ll enter in your contact lens prescription information, which will be confirmed by Coastal when the company calls your doctor.
Ordering glasses from Coastal
If you’re ordering prescription glasses of any kind (including reading or prescription sunglasses), it’s up to you to know your prescription and enter it correctly. Unlike contact lenses, Coastal doesn’t require that you provide proof of a valid eyeglass prescription when you order.
Shipping is free when your order is over $50. The free shipping option takes 4 to 5 days, but it can be much faster. You can also pay extra for priority shipping.
You’re able to return eyeglasses within 14 days of their delivery to you, as long as they’re still in their original condition.
The return policy for contacts is 30 days from the delivery date, as long as the contacts are still factory sealed in their original boxes.
You can also make an exchange within 60 days of your order being delivered.
Coastal’s eyeglasses and sunglasses have a 1-year limited warranty from the date you receive them. If your glasses break or the lenses crack, you can contact Coastal. They’ll work with you to figure out whether you need a refund or replacement.
Coastal has a Trustpilot rating of 4.6, based on over 2,500 reviews. That’s considered excellent.
In general, Coastal has one of the better reputations for customer service. When you have a problem and need to contact them, a live person will answer the phone or respond to your chat request.
When it comes to buying eyewear online, most retailers sell the same products at very similar price points. Customer service is a primary way that retailers try to set themselves apart. Coastal seems to be making customers happy with their approach to customer care.
When you buy contacts or eyewear online, you should know a few things before you even get started.
- Your budget. Be aware of what you would typically pay in a brick-and-mortar store to ensure that you actually are saving money.
- Your prescription. Even though you don’t have to provide proof that you went to the eye doctor or verify your eyeglass or contact prescription to buy with Coastal, that doesn’t mean you should skip out on getting your eyes checked out. Eye exams do so much more than test your visual acuity, including screening for glaucoma and cataracts.
- Your face shape. Different glasses look different on different face shapes. Knowing the eyeglass style that looks best with your face shape will help narrow down your choices as you look online.
- Coupons. There’s almost always a coupon for something floating around when you shop online for glasses. Maybe it’s a discount on lens upgrades, maybe it’s complimentary quicker shipping, or maybe it’s a percentage off of frames. Hunt around online or look for email-only offers before you finalize your purchase.
When it comes to buying glasses and contacts, Coastal is definitely not your only option. But they do have good customer service, a wide range of products, and a great reputation.
Coastal does offer premium brands and contact lenses at competitive prices, shipped directly to your address. If you have been to the eye doctor recently, have an up-to-date prescription, and just want to save a few dollars, Coastal is probably a great option for you. It’s even better if you have HSA or FSA dollars to use.
If you’re not sure if your prescription for glasses is accurate, if you have vision insurance that makes reimbursement complicated, or if you have questions about your particular situation or vision, you’re probably better off going to an optometrist for glasses or contacts.
Kathryn Watson is a freelance writer covering everything from sleep hygiene to moral philosophy. Her recent bylines include Healthline, Christianity Today, LitHub, and Curbed. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children, and her website is kathrynswatson.com.